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Review / ‘Kill The Messenger’ (M) ***

THE source for Michael Cuesta’s film is Gary Webb’s 1996 articles in the “San Jose Mercury” telling how the CIA set in motion the 1980s crack cocaine epidemic by importing planeloads of cocaine into the US to finance the Nicaraguan Contras. Why did the articles not generate media frenzy? Because concurrently with Webb’s articles, Monica […]

Review / ‘The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet’ (M) *** and a half

IN this charming little odyssey written and directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet from a novel by Reif Larsen, 10-year-old TS (Kyle Catlett) leaves the family ranch on the crest of the Rocky Mountains near the Canadian border to travel to Washington DC to receive a prestigious prize from the Smithsonian Institution. His family doesn’t know where […]

Review / ‘Pride’ (M) *** and a half

REMEMBER “Brassed Off” and “The Full Monty”, films in which British underdogs confronted crisis and the establishment with novel solutions to current industrial problems? Weren’t they great fun? So is Matthew Warchus’ film of Stephen Beresford’s screenplay about one oppressed minority joining forces with another in 1984. In London, working out of a bookshop run by […]

Review / ‘Living Is Easy (With Eyes Closed)’ (M) ***

THE main element of the title of Spanish filmmaker David Trueba’s prize-winning film begins the second stanza of “Strawberry Fields Forever”, which John Lennon composed in 1966 while tripping on substances. The title’s parenthetical part offers several possibilities from which filmgoers may choose a purpose. One is the obstinate determination of Antonio (Javier Camara) who […]

Review / ‘Hector and the Search for Happiness’ (M) ***

THE box office will determine whether this German/African co-production, the first film based on one of Francois Lelord’s novels about small-scale hero Hector (family name not stated), has the grunt to initiate a series. Since its August release, IMDb users have rated it 7 on a scale of 10. It arrived in Australia with little […]

Review / ‘Son of a Gun’ (MA) *** and a half

WRITER/director Julian Avery’s feature debut can stand proud beside any other filmmaker’s work as it visits a prison full of really hard cases, the WA goldfields, underworld environments in state and territory capitals, and a population of characters whom you’d really not want to invite home for a barbecue. At 19, JR (Brendan Thwaites) is […]

Review / ‘A Walk Among the Tombstones’ (MA) *** and a half

IN Scott Finlay’s adaptation of a novel by Lawrence Block, Liam Neeson plays a former NYPD detective gone private for reasons that emerge during the film. Scudder reluctantly accepts a commission from Ortiz (Maurice Compte) to find the men who yesterday kidnapped his wife. Only after paying the ransom did Ortiz learn that the lady […]

Review / ‘Siddharth’ (M) ****

HURRAH! A feature set only one level above the nadir of Indian society. Why hurrah? Writer/director Richie Mehta spurns Bollywood’s shams to tell it like it is among one-man micro-businesses supporting families for whom any tiny scrap of fiscal independence beats working in somebody else’s sweatshop. Meet chain-wallah Mahendra (Rajesh Tailang), who walks along narrow […]

Review / ‘Advanced Style’ (PG) *** and a half

IN this engaging documentary, tyro writer/director Lina Plioplyte teams with blogger Ari Seth Cohen to introduce seven New York women whose eclectic personal styles and vital spirits have guided their approach to ageing. The oldest at 95, taken to hospital during a function to announce the new public face of a well-known fashion house, died […]